Is Usborne Books A Scam? [$1,000 ROI With Book Sales?!]
Welcome to my Usborne Books Review!
While researching, I’ve come across an interesting question, “Is Usborne Books a Scam?” It gave me a sudden thought why people ask this question if they knew this is a legit UK-based publishing company. In fact, they expanded to the US.
What made them ask this?
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So, I took some time to do my own probing and determine which is which is true and not. As I went through it, I had my a-ha moment. Want to know what I found out?
Before I dig into it, first of all, I like to congratulate you for taking a time to research the MLM and find legitimate ways to make money online. To me, it sounds you’re getting on board for serious business, eh?
Given, I’ll give you all the answers through my brutal, honest, and comprehensive Usborne Books review post.
For your information, I’m reviewing it from a businessman’s perspective. So, I’d weigh both sides - negative and positive - to give you options whether investing your time and money with Usborne Books is worth your while… or not.
By the way, we have published 100+ similar reviews on different MLM companies in our site just like this one. So, we are one of the leading experts on these topics.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in, shall we?
Usborne Books Review - Quick Summary
Name: Usborne Books
Founded: 1973 (UK, main branch), 1989 (USA, 2nd branch)
Type: Multi-Level Marketing Company Selling Children Literature To Schools, Libraries, And Private Individuals Alike / Direct Sales
Price: Approximately $7 to $17
Best for: Persons working at schools, libraries, parents who'd like to buy children's literature for their kids or those who wanted to do Direct Sales for books to certain target markets i.e. primary schools & libraries.
Summary: Usborne Publishing, simply called as Usborne Books, a multi-level marketing company founded in 1973 to publish books primarily children's literature from 0 years old to young adults. The UK-based company expanded their wing in the US in 1989.
Is Usborne Books Recommended? Yes.
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What Is Usborne Books?
Usborne Publishing, also known as Usborne Books, is an indirect multi-level marketing company selling books, primarily children’s literature, as the name suggests.
Founded in 1973 by Peter Usborne in the United Kingdom, the publishing company operates MLM via direct selling to families, schools, and communities.
Upon success in the region, they expanded to the US in 1989 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as Usborne Books and More.
Both bases in the UK and US are members of the Direct Selling Association (DSA), wherein they recruit members known as independent distributors or consultants.
Their task, like any other MLMs out there, is to sell their products to different target markets such as private individuals, schools, and libraries.
What Do They Offer?
They sell books for children from 0 years old to young adult.
The one thing they specialize, setting them apart from the rest of the publishing companies producing the same genre, is that they intended to have it in “talk-about.”
That means the books allow special moments between parents and their children develop a bond while formulating sentences, learn new words, as well as building self-confidence by recitation. These books include:
- Usborne 199 Pictures
- Farmyard Tales
- That’s not my…
On their website, they divided the book categories into:
- 0-2 years old
- 3-5 years old
- 5-7 years old
- 7-11 years old
- 11-13 years old
- Young adult
Among their thousands of books published, there are a few of these they considered their best sellers. These titles comprise:
- The KnowHow Book of Spy Craft
- Usborne Puzzle Adventures
- Farmyard Tales
- First Thousand Word (illustrated by Stephen Cartwright)
With nearly 3,000 books published under their belt, it’s no surprise the company earned the “Most Successful UK Specialist Children’s Publishing Company” award last year.
In 2015, they also received “UK Private Business of the Year” and 4 years ago, with “IPG Publisher of the Year” and “Children’s Publisher of the Year.”
Apart from selling books, Usborne Books also provide several writing opportunities to the youth through competitions and coloring and puzzles.
Important Info To Keep In Mind
Usborne Books, as a medium-sized UK publishing company, writes and publishes their own books in-house with the help of 35 editors/writers and over 50 designers. Hence, producing 300 titles in a year is possible.
Not only that, but they also have more or less than 250 staff helping in the process from the book production, accounts, sales and marketing, rights, including the foreign imprint teams.
Usborne Books Compensation Plan
To join Usborne Books as one of their consultants, you need to purchase their Educational Consultant Kit apart from the Business Kit.
According to the former Usborne consultants, it’s required to get the first kit worth $125 plus taxes. That comprises 20 books, business supplies, and 6-month website membership.
Apart from the first kit, you also need to purchase $75-worth of 10 books, business supplies, and a 6-month website membership as your second kit. The business supply kit is worth $22.
One thing to keep in mind is that the catalogs you receive from Usborne are mostly out of print. If not, they are only useful for 6 months.
Not only that, but you’re also obliged to renew a series of subscriptions. From the eCommerce website and OrderPro, necessary for placing and processing orders.
- eCommerce website - $12/3 months
- I Make News Newsletter - $15/3 months
- School and Library I Make News Newsletter (intended for Educational Consultants) - $15/3 months
- OrderPro Basic - $1.30/month
- InTouch (automated email system) - $5/month
- OrderPro Point of Sale - $1.60/month
Once you join their company, you earn more or less 25% to 30% commission per retail sales. If you’re based in the UK, when you sell the books to schools or libraries, you automatically earn 20% commission and 24% to private individuals.
Disclosure: Usborne Books aren’t allowed to get sold directly to bookstores.
- Commission on Personal Sales (from home shows & web sales - 25% commission; eligible for 4% Personal Sales Bonus; and School & Library - 25% without discount; 20% with free shipping; eligible for 4% Personal Sales Bonus. For this section, it’s required to earn the minimum of $1,000 worth of monthly Personal Sales to earn this bonus)
- Special programs, such as Book Fairs, “Reach for the Stars!!,” and “Literacy for a Lifetime” orders - 17% (minimum $250; ineligible for Personal Sales Bonus)
Extra Information About Usborne Books
How to become an Usborne Books’ Team Leader?
Based on their requirements, it’s important you qualify with the following criteria revolving around your personal sales and group sales.
- $1,000 worth of personal sales within 2 consecutive months before your promotion
- $2,750 worth of minimum group sales within 2 consecutive months before the promotion date (including your personal sales).
How does this work?
Let’s say, you earned the required personal and group sales within April and May, you’re eligible for promotion on June 1 as a Team Leader. To guarantee that, you need to make sure you earn that certain amount until the target date (June 1).
In addition to their first 2 requirements, you must go through the remaining 4 criteria, comprising:
- At least 3 personal active recruits earning $500 each within the last 3 months
- 3 personal Success Bound recruits
- Completed Team Leader’s Application
Once you comply with these, wait for the Home Office confirmation, which will be sent by letter.
If you’re interested to get a higher rank beside Team Leader, you can check the following table to see which of which applies best in your current position:
- Same with the Team Leader requirements
- 2 first level Team Leaders and 1 second level Team Leader
- Same requirements for Team Leader
- 3 first level Team Leaders, 1 second level Team Leader, and 1 third level Team Leader
- Same requirements for Team Leader
- 6 first level Team Leaders and at least 1 Executive Team Leader
Making Money With Usborne
There are various ways to make money with Usborne Books apart from the compensation you’d get from them. Like other great books for entrepreneurs, the publishing company produces books that make influence and does make money well.
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Based on one of their former consultants’ summary of the commission, levels overview, overrides, and bonuses, they stated that once a consultant gets into Usborne Books, she enjoys the following based on the following ranks:
- Consultant (Usborne Books & More sales force)
- Team Leader
- Senior Leader
- Executive Leader
- Senior Executive Leader
Thus, it’s important for a consultant to strive hard to earn a higher rank to get several bonuses that only those of the higher positions can benefit.
Why would a consultant strive so hard to get that rank? What benefits you’d get later on?
Team Leader benefits from additional overrides and bonuses on personal and group sales. Plus, this rank allows training new consultants underneath their line.
For example, within the first 12 weeks, you’d get $300 in FREE Usborne Books products of your choice and another $200 cash.
Aside from the bonuses from personal and group sales, you’d get earnings from overrides from the total sales of your central group (including personal sales of that group as well).
What could you get in overrides?
- Earn 8.5% override on home shows & web sales; schools and library sales, including personal sales.
- 4.25% on sales of Special Programs and Cards for a Cause Fundraisers
- 5.5% override on home shows & web sales; school and library sales
- 2.75% override on sales of Special Programs and Cards for a Cause Fundraisers
- Once a downline gets promoted to Team Leader, you get a first-level breakaway and unlimited number of first-level groups
- 4% override on home shows & web sales; school and library sales
- 2% override sales of Special Programs and Cards for a Cause Fundraisers
- Once a downline gets the promotion to Team Leader, you earn second-level breakaway and an unlimited number of second-level groups
- For Executive Leaders, Senior Executive Leaders and Directors
- 1% override on home shows & web sales; school and library sales
- 0.5% override on sales of Special Programs and Cards for a Cause Fundraisers (only when your first, second, and third levels earn $30,000).
- When one of your downlines get promoted to Team Leader, her entire downline earn third-level breakaway and an unlimited number of third-level groups
If you remain the Team Leader rank or higher, in case of promotion, you’re also eligible to earn Promote Out Bonus. What’s this?
It’s a bonus gained when one of your consultants gets promoted to the Team Leader rank. That member gets the half of the bonus and the remaining 50% is yours, especially if they complete the Team Leader Story minimums.
Disclosure: You’re only eligible to get this bonus IF AND ONLY IF you earn relevant sales prior to the promotion date.
Hereunder are the exact amounts Usborne Books will pay as their Promote Out bonus:
- Team Leader - $250
- Senior Leader - $500
- Executive Leader - $500
- Senior Executive Leader $500
- Director - $1,000
Income Disclosure Statement
Below, you’ll see the whole chart of the company’s Income Disclosure Statement based on their Hostess Rewards. That is if you host a party using their books.
Usborne Books Review - What Other People Say About Them?
When I came across with the books they sell on Amazon (as one of their former consultants mentioned), they seem to have the affordable price range for books in bundles.
For example, their “Usborne My First Reading Library 50 Books Set Collection” is only worth $68.90, which in the list, already at a higher price.
The lowest, on the other hand, only cost as low as $17.26. Its closest competitor, Scholastic, costs $39.99 for 10-book set and even higher (to as high as $215.20).
These said it’s obvious most moms loved buying Usborne books because of its affordability as well as its usability. See one of their feedback mentioned that their books have been the best they’ve purchased so far.
According to a reviewer named Sialia, she said that even her, an adult, finds Usborne Books fun to read.
Usborne Books MLM Pros & Cons
- Any party incentives Usborne Books offer to you may come from your own commission
- Difficult to find leads; difficult to find new recruits
- Inability to edit people’s orders once the inevitable mistake is made or immediate revision is a need (it’s not allowed or applicable)
- Revisions of orders can ONLY be made in the Corporate office, not by consultants.
- Lesser training they provide for new consultants, especially the advanced business training specifically for sales and marketing
- Too expensive startup cost
- Less ROI, unless if you intend to recruit more and more people and create your own downline
- ALL MARKETING MATERIALS are from your own expense
- Too heavy physical products to carry for inventory
- Poor communication system
- Severe shipping issues (delayed up to 4 to 6 weeks)
- Poor customer service
- Difficult to become an Educational Consultant (especially selling in competition with Scholastic upfront)
- You’re not allowed to speak your mind. Otherwise, you’re automatically terminated.
- Flexible schedule for consultants
- You do business in your own pace (no pressure from the company itself)
- Big opportunities to grow business through the training they provide
- Sell fantastic books
- Great way to build a personal library
- The culture of the company is great
- Excellent support
Is Usborne Books a Scam?
Based on the research done, Usborne Books is a legitimate company. Thus, it’s not a scamming company albeit their issues on defining their company’s structure whether they’re a multi-level marketing or simply a direct selling company.
I haven’t mentioned it earlier, however, Usborne may appear like an MLM, but at some point in my research, they seem to have been struggling with determining the specific structure of their company, given that Scholastic Books have a portion in their US wing as well.
There are varied points of view from both the satisfied clients and dissatisfied consultants alike. In general, as I see it, Usborne Books is a great way to start an MLM with a note that it will require you to reach the Team Leader rank and higher to make sure your Return Of Investment (ROI) you expected.
Of course, this is the reason behind your MLM endeavor, right? You want to get incentives you deserve. With the hard work you did, you want to see the results.
That said, it makes sense to highlight the company’s former consultants’ statements regarding the company’s poor training in terms of sales and marketing, fundamentals for building a business.
An existing intense competition is one thing you’re going to face in Usborne, finding new recruits will be a great challenge, too.
Do you think you’re up for that?
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Without chasing or annoying people to buy products as you do in any MLM programs like Usborne Books, he’s earning a steady income while he stays in his lofty home in Finland.
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To end this post, let me ask these questions for you to ponder.
Do you have first-hand experiences with Usborne Books? Have you been using their products and became one of their consultants? If so, what’s your say about the company as a whole?
Do you rather invest in an MLM or in an affiliate marketing as your jump start to business?
Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
If you feel like you want to learn about making money online, feel free to share your thoughts at the comment section below. Roope loves to help you out to get started. In fact, he's super stoked!